With WrestleMania rapidly approaching, it's easy to look at dozens, if not hundreds of memories -- whether it's the interviews, the entrances, the matches themself.... even memories as a fan of either attending the events live or watching them in awe. So how can anyone possibly choose the best among all those so-called "WrestleMania Moments"?
Moreso than any of the other Top 50 lists produced on this site to date, this list is based on one fan's opinion -- mine. Your opinions may differ. Heck, I would fully expect them to differ because different fans look at different moments differently. Some readers may not even remember certain moments I've listed, and vice versa.
In selecting the Top 50 WrestleMania Moments, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories looked at the following criteria:
Whether it was a match, a sequence within a match, an interview or any other aspect, how memorable was it (or will it be) years later?
Did it have an impact on the WWE or the business altogether?
How likely are we to see it replayed in highlight reels or WWE documentaries for years to come?
As I said, this list is highly subjective (more than others we've done here), so I expect quite a bit of feedback. In fact, I'm hoping for it! Leave a message below or hit me up @CanadianBulldog on Twitter.
Ready? Here we go!
Welcome to WrestleMania!
At WrestleMania III, Vince McMahon surveyed the massive, seemingly endless crowd on hand and shouted "Welcome... to WrestleMania Three!" (later shortened in soundbites to omit the Three). It was an iconic moment that is still used in WWE video packages today.
Girls Just Wanna Win Belts
At the first WrestleMania, The Fabulous Moolah-managed Leilani Kai was defending her WWF Women's Championship against Wendi Richter, who had rock star Cyndi Lauper in her corner. Without Lauper, there may not have even been a WrestleMania, so it was no surprise she led Richter to victory.
Mick's Mania Moment
At WrestleMania XXII, Mick Foley came out of retirement to face Edge in a brutal bout. In the lead-up to his match, Foley claimed he'd never had his own "WrestleMania Moment" despite numerous Mania matches. Foley said his moment was Edge's look of absolute terror, following their brutal bout.
Following a tag team victory over The Miz and Maryse at WrestleMania XXXIII, John Cena did something never before in WrestleMania history - he proposed to his longtime girlfriend Nikki Bella in the middle of the ring. While the two never ended up typing the knot, it was nonetheless a memorable moment.
The Battle For America
At WrestleMania VII, on the heels of the first Gulf War, WWF World Champion and American turncoat Sgt. Slaughter battled Hulk Hogan. While The Hulkster had to counter cheating by Slaughter and his manager General Adnan, he still won the championship and held the American flag high over his head.
At the first WrestleMania, Andre The Giant and Big John Studd decided to settle their grudge, which had been going since Studd and Ken Patera cut Andre's hair. Andre vowed to retire if he lost the bodyslam challenge and when he won, Studd owed him $15,000. Andre shared the bag full of cash with the audience.
Brother Against Brother
At WrestleMania X, Bret Hit Man Hart opened the show against his younger brother Owen Hart. While brother vs. brother matches had happened before, never had such a match taken place on such a major stage. Suprisingly, Owen pinned his brother and later in the night, Bret would win the WWF World Title.
Bam Bam Fumbles Against LT
At WrestleMania XI, the main event featured Bam Bam Bigelow against football legend Lawrence Taylor. While Taylor had never had a pro wrestling match before, he'd been training for the big moment for some time and put on a surprisingly-impressive performance against Bam Bam, with LT getting the win.
Once In A Lifetime
At WrestleMania XXVIII, John Cena took on The Rock in a match that had been announced the day after the previous year's WrestleMania. After lobbing insults back and forth for the entire year, the two had an epic encounter. The Rock pinned Cena after landing his second Rock Bottom, crushing Cena's hopes.
The Wrestler Punches A Wrestler
At WrestleMania XXV, Chris Jericho was initially supposed to battle actor Mickey Rourke, who won critical acclaim for his portrayal in The Wrestler. Instead, Jericho took on Rowdy Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and Superfly Jimmy Snuka, but was KO'ed afterwards by none other than Rourke.
Cody Rhodes Returns
Although it was widely expected, the return of Cody Rhodes to WWE at WrestleMania XXXVIII was one of the event's biggest moments. Rhodes, who hadn't been with the promotion since 2016, made his triumphant return in a starring role, scoring an emphatic win over Seth Freakin' Rollins.
The Shawn Michaels Era Begins
At WrestleMania XII, Shawn Michaels took on WWF World Champion Bret Hart in what was the event's first 60-minute Iron Man match. A back and forth classic took place over the next hour, with neither man scoring any falls as time expired. Michaels eked out a pin when the match went into Sudden Death overtime.
The John Cena Era Begins
At WrestleMania XXI, WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield defended his title against John Cena (who - believe it or not - was universally cheered at this point). A back and forth contest ended with Cena landing his F-U finisher and pinning Layfield, winning his first of a record 16 WWE/World Championships.
All In The Family
At WrestleMania XVII, WWF owner Vince McMahon (with his daughter, mistress and sedated wife in his corner) took on WCW owner and son Shane McMahon, with Mick Foley as the special referee. After a ton of outside interference and surprise twists and turns, Shane McMahon pinned his "pops".
While Roman Reigns has had a lot of big WrestleMania wins over the years such as over Triple H and The Undertaker, arguably his biggest was at Night Two of WrestleMania XXXVII. He defeated Brock Lesnar to unify Lesnar's WWE Championship with Reigns' Universal Championship.
Three Teams, Two Belts and a Ladder
At WrestleMania XVI, WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz defended the belts against Edge & Christian and Matt & Jeff Hardy. This was the first three-way ladder match between the three legendary teams (but not the last). Edge & Christian reached the belts first and won.
A New Attendance Record.... Low
WrestleMania XXXVI was moved from the massive Raymond James Stadium to the tiny WWE Performance Center due to the global pandemic. Instead of tens of thousands of fans in attendance, the event had exactly zero fans, spread over two nights, giving the show a unique feel.
At WrestleMania XVIII, The Rock took Hulk Hogan, who had recently returned the WWF as part of the nWo. Shockingly, the fans in Toronto were cheering more Hogan than they were The Rock, who was the babyface. When Hogan lost the match, he and Rock embraced and were cheered by the crowd.
Climbing The Ladder
At WrestleMania X, Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels battled over the Intercontinental Championship. Because both men had a claim to the title (and both held a version of it), both belts were hung above the ring in a ladder match. Ramon won in a precursor to the TLC and Money In The Bank matches.
The MegaPowers Explode
At WrestleMania V, WWF World Champion Randy "Macho Man" Savage took on Hulk Hogan, with manager Miss Elizabeth in a neutral corner. The two former MegaPowers and best friends had a brutal encounter, with Hogan eventually pinning Savage and capturing his second WWF World Title.
Retiring The Man
At WrestleMania XXIV, Shawn Michaels took on "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, who had been given a stipulation by Vince McMahon where the next match he lost, he would be forced to retire. In an emotional match between two good friends, Michaels pinned Flair, ending The Nature Boy's 36-year career.
Macho Man & Elizabeth Reconcile
At WrestleMania VII, Randy "Macho Man" Savage faced The Ultimate Warrior in a loser-must-retire match. Savage lost the bout and was attacked by his manager Sensational Sherri. Savage's ex- manager and love interest Miss Elizabeth ran to ringside and the two reconciled.
The Streak Ends
At WrestleMania XXX, The Undertaker brought his unprecedented 21-0 WrestleMania winning streak to challenger Brock Lesnar. To the shock of virtually everyone in the SuperDome, Lesnar pinned Undertaker after 25 minutes of action, forever ending wrestling's most impressive winning streak.
At WrestleMania XXX, Daniel Bryan had two matches. First, he defeated WWE COO Triple H and then at the end of the show, he toppled HHH's Evolution teammates Batista and WWE World Champion Randy Orton in a triple threat match. Not bad for someone who barely factored into the early plans for Mania!
Tyson Knocks Out HBK
At WrestleMania XIV, WWF World Champion Shawn Michaels took on Stone Cold Steve Austin, with special referee Mike Tyson (who was supposedly aligned with Michaels). Austin won the championship and after Michaels began arguing with Tyson, HBK was knocked out by Iron Mike in a classic moment.
The Macho/Flair Affair
At WrestleMania VIII, Ric Flair was defending his WWF World Championship against Randy "Macho Man" Savage. But leading up the match, Flair had teased Savage with a series of doctored pictures of Flair with Savage's wife Elizabeth. Out for revenge that night, Savage pinned Flair to win the WWF Championship.
The Hardys Return
At WrestleMania XXXIII, Gallows & Anderson were set to defend their Raw Tag Team Titles against two other teams in a Ladder Match. However, WrestleMania hosts The New Day announced a last-second addition: instead of adding themselves, they added a returning Matt and Jeff Hardy to one of the loudest reactions in WrestleMania history.
Hulkamania Runs Wild on Bundy
At WrestleMania II, Hulk Hogan defended his WWF World Title against King Kong Bundy. The match took place in a steel cage and, because Hogan's ribs had already been softened up by Bundy, it was a close contest - but Hulkamania ultimately prevailed
See Ya, Hot Rod
At WrestleMania III, Rowdy Roddy Piper took on Adorable Adrian Adonis to end a feud that began the previous summer when Piper returned to the WWF. However, Piper vowed to retire afterwards regardless of the match outcome and when Hot Rod won, allowed Brutus Beefcake to shave Adonis bald.
At WrestleMania XXIII, Vince McMahon and future U.S. President Donald Trump held a match to determine their fates, with Stone Cold Steve Austin as referee. McMahon used Umaga as his surrogate, while Trump had Bobby Lashley. After Lashley won, McMahon was forced to have his head shaved bald!
Stone Cold Returns
The final segment for Night One of WrestleMania XXXVIII saw WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin return as part of Kevin Owens' KO Show. But the talk show appearance led to a one-on-one match between the two - which happened to be Stone Cold's first match in almost 20 years.
Rollins Banks A Win
At WrestleMania XXXI, Seth Rollins had lost to Randy Orton, but he wasn't finished for the evening. Near the end of the Brock Lesnar-Roman Reigns WWE World Title main event, Rollins cashed in his Money In The Bank title shot, making the match a Triple Threat. Rollins soon pinned Reigns to win the championship.
Jericho's Show Of Sportsmanship
At WrestleMania XIX, Shawn Michaels took on Chris Jericho, a man who had patterned his entire career after The Heartbreak Kid. The two engaged in a modern classic, with Michaels getting the pinfall. Jericho then extended his hand to Michaels in victory and the two hugged - seconds before Y2J low-blowed HBK.
Twice In A Lifetime?
At WrestleMania XXVIX, John Cena took on The Rock in a rematch from the previous year's event. The twist this time was that The Rock had recently captured the WWE Championship and the title was on the line. However, Cena landed three Attitude Adjusters on Rock, winning the championship belt.
End Of An Era
At WrestleMania XXVIII, The Undertaker took on Triple H in what was their second consecutive WrestleMania match (and third WrestleMania match overall). This time around, it was a Hell In A Cell match with special referee Shawn Michaels and by the time Undertaker won the match, it was the end of an era that both men had personified.
At WrestleMania XXXV, Kofi Kingston finally received his shot at the WWE Championship, which was held by Daniel Bryan. With unwavering fan support by his side, Kingston popped the crowd at MetLife Stadium, giving the New Day member a long-awaited WrestleMania moment.
The Macho Man Era Begins
At WrestleMania IV, a 14-man tournament took place to determine the undisputed WWF World Champion. In the final round, it came down to Randy "Macho Man" Savage and "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase for the championship. Savage pinned DiBiase to win the belt and held it for a year.
At WrestleMania XIV, baseball legend Pete Rose was the special guest ring announcer for a match featuring The Undertaker against Kane. Rose, a/k/a Charlie Hustle, put down the fans in Boston and ended up receiving a chokeslam from Kane, a tradition that would continue for three straight Manias.
Money In The Bank
At WrestleMania XXI, the first-ever Money in The Bank ladder match was held, with the winner receiving an automatic World or WWE Title shot whenever they wanted it over the next year. In the end, Edge triumphed over Shelton Benjamin, Christian, Chris Jericho, Kane and Chris Benoit to capture the first MITB briefcase.
Impromptu Main Event
At WrestleMania IX, Bret Hit Man Hart dropped the WWF World Title to the massive Yokozuna. Hulk Hogan (who had wrestled in an earlier tag match) came to avenge Hart's loss and ended up being challenged by Yoko's manager Mr. Fuji. Hogan pinned Yokozuna after 22 seconds to win the championship.
Stone Cold Heel Turn
At WrestleMania XVII, The Rock was defending his WWF World Championship against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Although both were fan favorites, tensions had mounted in the weeks leading up to the match. Austin won due to outside interference from his longtime archrival Vince McMahon.
Women Make History
WrestleMania XXXV was unique in that it was the first time a womens match closed the show. It was a Triple Threat Match featuring Raw Womens Champion Ronda Rousey, SmackDown Womens Champion Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, who triumphed over both ladies to become Becky Two Belts.
At WrestleMania XX, Triple H defended his World Title against Shawn Michaels and 2004 Royal Rumble winner Chris Benoit. While the match is no longer touted by WWE for obvious reasons, Benoit won the championship in a modern-day classic when he made The Game tap out to his Crippler Crossface.
They'll Turn But They Won't Tap
At WrestleMania XIII, Bret Hart took on Stone Cold Steve Austin in a submission match, with Ken Shamrock as the special guest referee. The Hit Man turned heel when he won, while Austin turned face. Neither man submitted, though Austin passed out in Hart's sharpshooter.
So Long, Shawn
At WrestleMania XXVI, The Undertaker put his streak on the line against Shawn Michaels for the second consecutive WrestleMania, with the stipulation that Michaels would have to retire if he lost. After 24 minutes, in the final match of the show, Undertaker won, forcing Michaels to retire after a 26-year career.
Hulkster and Mr. T
At the very first WrestleMania, Hulk Hogan chose actor Mr. T to be his tag team partner against enemies "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff. A gaggle of special guests and celebrities surrounded the ring for the inaugural WrestleMania main event, which was won by the two 80s icons.
Mysterio's Mania Miracle
At WrestleMania XXII, Rey Mysterio was added to a World Title match featuring Champion Kurt Angle and Randy Orton. Mysterio upset his two larger opponents in winning the match and the championship, while emotionally dedicating the win to his recently-deceased friend Eddie Guerrero.
Steamboat vs. Savage
At WrestleMania III, Intercontinental Champion Randy "Macho Man" Savage took on Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat in a massive grudge match. Following a thrilling series of twists, turns, reversals and nearfalls, Steamboat captured the Intercontinental title, ending off one of the most acclaimed matches in history.
The Ultimate Victory
At WrestleMania VI, WWF World Champion took on Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior in one of WWF's first title-for-title and fan favorite vs. fan favorite matches. Warrior capitalized when Hogan missed his patented legdrop, winning both the match and the WWF World Championship.
Hogan Slams Andre
At WrestleMania III, WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan took on former friend Andre The Giant, who had been undefeated for 15 years. While Hogan was successful in turning back the giant's challenge, the biggest WrestleMania Moment took place when Hogan bodyslammed the 500-plus-pound Andre.